With their playoff hopes on life support, the 4-5 Eagles may be without starting quarterback Donovan McNabb Sunday when they face the New York Giants in the Meadowlands.
McNabb, who has been playing all season with a sports hernia, aggravated his injured groin late in Monday night's 21-20 loss to Dallas when he tried to make a tackle on Cowboys safety Roy Williams. Williams' 46-yard interception return for a touchdown with 2:43 left in the game put Dallas ahead.
McNabb had an MRI Tuesday morning and was scheduled to be examined by a specialist after that. Coach Andy Reid said they'll have a better idea on McNabb's status for the Giants game on Wednesday, but he admitted that the chances of him playing aren't very good.
"I wouldn't bet on it right now," Reid said. "He doesn't look good today. That's obviously without the doctors taking a look at him. I'm far from a doctor."
McNabb went back in the game after Williams' touchdown, but clearly was in distress. He badly overthrew two passes and then was sacked. Mike McMahon, who has been the team's No. 3 quarterback all season behind McNabb and backup Koy Detmer, came in for the Eagles' final series.
Reid said he turned to McMahon rather than Detmer because of McMahon's mobility.
"His mobility was a factor there," Reid said. "I thought if he got into trouble, he could gain some yards with his feet. McMahon did have a 9-yard run on the drive. He also completed 2 of 5 passes and almost got the Eagles close enough for a game-winning field goal. One of those three incompletions was a drop inside the Dallas 20 by rookie wide receiver Reggie Brown.
McMahon, who started seven games in four seasons with Detroit before signing as a free agent with the Eagles, is generally assumed to be a better quarterback than Detmer. But Detmer is kicker David Akers' holder, which is why he is the backup.
But Reid insisted Monday that it hasn't been determined yet who would start against the Giants if McNabb can't play.
"We'll make that decision today," he said. "I haven't talked to the coaches about that yet. (McMahon) did a good job. But I don't want to slight either one of those guys."
--QB Donovan McNabb aggravated his groin injury late in Monday night's loss to the Cowboys and probably won't play this week against the Giants.
--QB Mike McMahon could get his first start as an Eagle this week against the Giants. Starter Donovan McNabb aggravated his groin injury Monday night against Dallas and isn't expected to play this week.
--TE L.J. Smith suffered a sprained knee in the second half of Monday night's loss to Dallas. He had an MRI on Tuesday. His status for this week is uncertain right now.
--SS Mike Lewis suffered a rib contusion Monday night against Dallas. Coach Andy Reid said he likely wouldn't practice Wednesday, but seemed hopeful that he'll be able to play Sunday against the Giants.
--MLB Jeremiah Trotter came out of Monday night's game against Dallas with some knee inflammation. It likely will limit his practice time this week, but he'll probably play against the Giants.
Coach Bill Parcells is never happy on Mondays.
This week was a particularly bad one.
He buried his younger brother Donald, who died last week of brain cancer. But it was also one that ended in wild celebration.
After attending a funeral in Short Hills, N.J., Parcells made the 90-mile drive back to Philadelphia where the Cowboys staged a comeback victory as memorable as any in team history.
Down 20-7 in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys rallied to a 21-20 victory thanks to a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Drew Bledsoe to Terry Glenn and a 46-yard interception return for a touchdown by safety Roy Williams in the final three minutes of the game.
With the victory, the Cowboys (5-4) moved into a first-place tie atop the NFC East with the Giants (6-3).
"There was a lot of emotion here for me," said a teary-eyed Parcells. "I don't mean to dwell on any of that, but I'll tell you what I told the players. I got a message there today that said, 'Don't have a troubled heart.' And I don't. I've got those guys there in the locker room."
Williams, known more for his hitting than pass defending, said he couldn't believe Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb threw the ball.
"It came right to me," Williams said. "I said, 'Don't drop it! Don't drop it!'"
Williams and the team gave the game ball to Parcells.
"This win really uplifted our spirits and Bill's," Williams said. "We're happy to get this win for Bill and his family and just for our team and organization."
Bledsoe, who nearly threw the game away with a second-quarter interception, redeemed himself with the fourth-quarter touchdown. He said the game was huge for the Cowboys' NFC East title chances. But it was best for what it meant for Parcells.
"No doubt this was a tremendous win," Bledsoe said. "It was great for us and great for Parcells. It was a difficult time for him personally. To pull out a win in that fashion was pretty important."
--CB Anthony Henry was held out of Monday's game because of his torn groin. Aaron Glenn started in his place at right cornerback, although he moved to the left side in the nickel with Jacques Reeves going in at right cornerback and left cornerback Terence Newman moving inside.
--LB Bradie James had the best game of this three-year career against the Eagles, recording 12 tackles, a sack, two pass breakups and the key block on safety Roy Williams' game-winning interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
--DE Greg Ellis had a fourth quarter sack to pad his team-leading sack total of six. Ellis has recorded at least a half-sack in all but two games this season.
--WR Peerless Price finally had a big-time impact. Lightly used since taking over the injured Patrick Crayton as the third receiver three games ago, Price caught a 58-yard pass in the first quarter to set up a Cowboys touchdown. Price now has four catches for 81 yards for the season.
--WR Keyshawn Johnson started a game on the sideline for the first time since he was a rookie in 1996 in which he was active. The Cowboys opened the game in a three-tight end formation. Johnson, however, led the Cowboys in receptions with five for 56 yards.
New York Giants
By virtue of the Dallas Cowboys' scintillating comeback Monday night against Philadelphia, in which they scored two touchdowns in the space of 25 seconds, the Giants no longer own first place in the NFC East on their own.
They are tied with the Cowboys at 6-3, while the defending champion Eagles, now 4-5, head to Giants Stadium next Sunday. At the same time, the Cowboys are home against the less-than-intimidating Detroit Lions.
"I told our guys yesterday that the worst that could happen to us is that we'd wake up Tuesday morning and be tied for first place," coach Tom Coughlin said. "We gave up a game we could have won (a 24-21 last-second loss to Minnesota), but it's not the end of the world."
Now is the time for Coughlin to practice his people skills. He admits that screaming at the team after that kind of heartbreaking defeat could do significantly more harm than good.
"I was very factual with them," he said. "The first thing I look for is effort, and those guys gave me full effort. Nobody stopped trying. To get it tied in that kind of situation was a good job, and if we had been able to stop just one of those pass plays we go into overtime."
Now the work takes on a different tone. Last year the Giants were 5-2, lost a game they should have won (to Chicago, 28-21) and proceeded to lose eight straight to disappear from the division race.
`"No, I didn't mention that to them and I don't plan to," Coughlin said. "We are 6-3 and in the next (last) seven games we have the chance to do it for ourselves. You can't ask for more than that. What do I think the mood of the team is right now? Well, I guess you could call it remorse for an opportunity lost. We have the chance to look at the tape, make corrections and then move on. That's the only thing you can do and I think these guys are going to be capable of doing it."
--DT William Joseph will be lost for 4-6 weeks because of a dislocated elbow he suffered in the loss to Minnesota. But it is unlikely that the Giants will bring someone in. At the moment, it would appear that Fred Robbins will assume the starting RDT position with Kenderick Allen as the first reserve.
--SLB Carlos Emmons has a better chance of returning to the active roster than he did last week. His partially torn right pectoral muscle seems to have sufficiently healed, but with young Reggie Torbor playing as well as he has been, there might not be an urgency to bring back the 10-year veteran.
--QB Eli Manning did not have to look very far to blame for his four interceptions, most in a single game in his young career. "They were all on me," he said. "I should have made better decisions. I knew better. In fact, on the one that went back (a 92-yard TD return by FS Darren Sharper, one of three he had in the game) I knew what he was doing. I knew he had a reputation for playing that way, double-teaming a receiver and then cutting across him."
--RB Tiki Barber, who gained 95 yards rushing and 111 receiving, was still angry - well, upset - at some of the younger players. "Not that I think they let down and stopped trying," he said. "It's just that they have to learn when you have a game like this, one that you must win, and you put yourself in position to win it, you just can't let it get away. That is not an option." Barber holds the team season record for yards from scrimmage with 2,096 (set last season) and thus far has 1,118 this year. He is on track to come close to the record.
--WR Plaxico Burress leads the team with 48 catches for 706 yards but caught only three against the Vikings. "I didn't try hard enough," he said. "I didn't make my quarterback look good."
--WR Amani Toomer, who didn't catch a single TD pass last year, has three now, and the Giants have 15 TD receptions, three more than they recorded all of last season.
--TE Jeremy Shockey caught five passes for 55 yards against Minnesota and now has 37 receptions for the season. "I think that was a game we had in the bag and then let it get away," he said. "Hey, they didn't score a touchdown against our defense, you know?" Minnesota had three TDs, all via returns - a punt, a KO and an interception.
--K Jay Feely missed a chip-shot field goal, a 28-yarder that made the difference in a three-point defeat. Minnesota's Koren Robinson also returned one of Feely's kickoffs 86 yards for a touchdown. "We just played terrible, especially me," he said. "It was a bad kickoff, too. The Vikings didn't do anything to our defense all day."
--DE Osi Umenyiora took the team sack lead away from DE Michael Strahan. He now has eight after getting a pair against the Vikings, while Strahan has 7.5 following one on Sunday.